Healthy Firefighters – Skelleftea Decontamination Model

Responder Wipes, on-scene decontamination wipes developed to remove toxicants firefighters are exposed to in the line of duty, announces they are now a “Healthy Firefighters Approved” product. Healthy Firefighters is the Swedish initiative which developed international standards for preventing and counteracting sources of illness in firefighters. Responder Wipes are the only decontamination wipes recognized as a “Healthy Firefighters Approved” product.

The fire rescue service is recognizing the epidemic facing every firefighter.  Cancer is now a leading cause of death for firefighters, with 68% of the U.S. LODD’s in 2016 being caused by cancer, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters data.

More than a decade ago, Swedish firefighters understood this risk and set about developing a method to change it.  The country’s employee and employer organizations came together to develop “Healthy Firefighters – the Skellefteå Model,” a collaborative project aimed at preventing occupational health hazards among firefighters. Now adopted as the standard in 17 European countries, the “Healthy Firefighters” project provides concise decontamination protocols which can improve firefighters’ health and well-being.

A recent study by the University of Ottawa concludes that dermal absorption is a major route of toxicant exposure for firefighters. Therefore, it becomes critical to minimize the amount of soot that penetrates the bunker gear and to remove it from the skin as soon as possible, not hours later upon return to the firehouse.

“When we founded Responder Wipes over two years ago, our aim was to provide an easy, cost-effective method for decontaminating while still on-scene,” says Responder Wipes President, Tonya Cronin. “By being the only wipe approved as a “Healthy Firefighters” product we bring the foremost decontamination protocol in the world together with the best wipes to provide firefighters with a program which can help prevent occupational cancer.”

Healthy Firefighters – the Skellefteå Model” is based on the premise that for firefighters there are multiple factors which, in combination, can reduce the quantity and levels of exposure to toxicants.  These factors include firefighters receiving the knowledge and insight required to reduce the incidence of exposure to toxicants; simple, clear protocols to reduce the instances in which a firefighter is exposed to toxicants; and departments and agencies providing necessary equipment and tools to carry out these protocols.

“We welcome the development of tools that help our colleagues minimize the risk of occupational diseases. Responder Wipes have specially developed a high-end product to reduce the exposure of foreign and health hazardous substances and we are happy to give them our sign of approval” said David Hultman, CEO of Healthy Firefighters.